The first step toward treating your sleeping disorder is to recognize that you have a sleeping disorder. Many of us tend to shrug off the telltale symptoms of sleeplessness, refusing to treat them as anything serious. In some cases, we may tell ourselves “get more sleep,” but for most people, this is easier said than done.

To be successful, you need to make a determined effort to fix the mounting problem: a lack of sleep and sleep deprivation. If not, the cumulative sleep deprivation effects will only worsen over time. Here’s a quick overview of common sleep disorders to help you identify your sleep disorder that may be responsible for your restless sleep and as a starting point to treating your sleep deprivation issues:

Insomnia: A common sleep disorder that’s defined by sleepless nights. You may have difficulty getting to sleep and/or staying asleep and as a result, you often wake up feeling tired. One of the symptoms of insomnia is fatigue, which can lead to irritability, drowsiness, and daytime sleepiness.

Sleep Apnea: There are three types of sleep apnea; the most common is “obstructive sleep apnea,” which makes up over 80% of apnea cases. In obstructive sleep apnea, not enough air is getting into the lungs due to a physical block to the airflow.

As a result, your breathing will become shallow and in some cases, stop completely – albeit only for a split second. However, this triggers the body to start the breathing process that may cause you to snort, cough, or snore.

You’ll resume sleeping, but your sleep has been disrupted, so the quality of the sleep is diminished and overtime, you’ll begin experiencing signs of sleep deprivation such as daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): If you suffer from RLS, as the name implies, you’re literally unable to rest your legs. During the day or in your sleep, you may feel frequent burning, crawling, or tingling sensation in your legs, and you need to move your legs to stop these sensations. By having to move your legs repeatedly to make the sensations go away, especially when you are trying to sleep, you have restless sleep and is deprived of a good night sleep.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD): PLMD is similar to RLS in that you move often during sleep. However, unlike RLS, the movement is involuntary and not limited to your legs. The limbs move periodically in twitches or jerks.

These involuntary movements usually take place in the legs, but for some people, the arms are also affected. Though you may not be aware of these movements, they lead to a restless sleep. When you wake up in the morning, you will feel the sleep deprivation through a sense of fatigue, drowsiness, moodiness, and even depression.

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS): If you’re suffering from DSPS, it seems as if your circadian rhythm (an internal 24-hour cycle) is off by half a day and you find yourself unable to sleep at night but feel sleepy during the day. This pattern can seriously interfere with your lifestyle – from work to quality time spent with the family.

Narcolepsy: A dangerous disorder defined by extreme sleepiness during the daytime, as well as periods when a total loss of muscle control throws the sufferer into a state of cataplexy. Cataplexy is a common feature of narcolepsy. Cataplexy can be triggered by anger, laughter, surprise, stress and exhilaration. Cataplexy is unpredictable both in severity and frequency.

In addition to the sleep disorders mentioned, there are others, such as snoring, seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.), night terrors, night taking, night eating and sleepwalking. All of them can lead to sleep deprivation and each is sure to have a physical, mental, or emotional impact on your life.

If you think you are experiencing sleeplessness and want to sleep better, it’s important that the specific sleep disorder is identified and treated quickly. You may have to try different methods to find the solution that works best for your sleep disorder.

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